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Presentation thoughts

Discussion of photography, editing and publishing techniques

Presentation thoughts

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:33 am

Hey all,

I just noticed two new castles on Brickshelf and wanted to contrast them in terms of presentation. Please note, this is not a comparison of the MOCs themselves. Both are really nice--the color scheme is (IMO) nicer on Bernard's but Diddi's is larger and more elaborate and has a lot of great details. I wanted to point out some things about presentation, though, where one gallery is much better than the other, as instructive examples for others. These are all things that any of us can do, regardless of what kind of camera we have or whatever.

Bernard's: Image

Diddi's: Image

Background: The first MOC above is photographed against a neutral background (a lawn), while the other is photographed in a room with all kinds of things around it, which distract the eye. Also, in the first, the background color is very complementary to the colors of the castle. Setting a creation in front of some neutral background like the grass, a blank wall, or a sheet helps prevent distraction and makes your details clearer.

Lighting: The first MOC is taken in natural lighting, which usually gives the best result. You can also get a good effect with a mixture of lights set at angles to the creation (with one light at the wrong angle you often get glares reflected back at the camera).

Photo size: The first picture in the first gallery is 950x857 pixels. This is right at the top size you generaly want - it shows all the necessary detail without being too big for a normal browser window. In the other gallery the first pic is 2304x1728 pixels - too large to easily peruse the gallery. A few large scale pictures are good to show small details, but generally this large is unnecessary. Almost every camera or scanner will come with some rudimentary photo editing software, and most operating systems will also come with something. If those aren't available to you, Kevin has an article on GIMP, a free photo-editing program.

Camera angles: Bernard does a great job here of showcasing his MOC, with views from every side including bird's eye, plus pics of the interiors and close-ups of key details.

Population: Figs bring a creation to life. Both creations above are well populated to seem alive and interesting.

Anyway, please note that the above is not a knock on Diddi in any way as a builder. I really like a lot about his castle (like, for instance, the use of minifig legs as architectural details), and his other MOCs (battleships and Holocaust memorial) are also amazingly cool. I'm also not sure whether this is Diddi's final folder on this castle, as some of the pics look like work-in-progress photos, so it may just be that he took some quick pics to show others what he was working on. However, there have been many other MOCs, including MOCs by CC members, that were very cool but hurt by poor presentation.

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Postby babyjawa » Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:42 am

I know what you mean about having stuff around it. I use GIMP it is kind of hard to figure ou though
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Mon Sep 12, 2005 5:26 am

And, of course, make sure that you don't build something too darn big, too darn heavy, and too darn awkward to get out the door to accomplish all those things The Other Bruce (rightly) suggests.
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Postby Blueandwhite » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:46 pm

TwoTonic Knight wrote:And, of course, make sure that you don't build something too darn big, too darn heavy, and too darn awkward to get out the door to accomplish all those things The Other Bruce (rightly) suggests.

Even if your MOC isn't mobile, there are still things you can do to improve your photos. You can always hang a sheet, or neutral backdrop to hide the clutter behind your MOC. Lighting can usually be resolved with the correct lamps, or if your room has it, florescent lights which fill a room evenly.

My biggest beef with alot of photographs is the use of flash. Simply put, LEGO photos should never be taken with the flash on. The smooth finish of the bricks always leads to either an over-exposed image, or some level of reflected light.

As to picture size, I'm partial to something 800 x 600. Photos smaller than this lose too much detail. Anything larger may require some scrolling.

And afterall, there is nothing worse than a great MOC presented poorly (I know from experience).
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Postby Drucifer » Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:17 pm

babyjawa wrote:I know what you mean about having stuff around it. I use GIMP it is kind of hard to figure ou though

For all of those struggling with the GIMP, check out the books and tutorials sections of the GIMP webpage. Both are great resources. Also, there are many books available about digital photography. These are often based around Photoshop, but you can apply the same techniques in the GIMP. The tools/options may be slightly different however.

Great examples Bruce. And I agree, poor presentation often hurts some really well done MOCs.
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Postby Luís » Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:07 pm

Well, I agree with all points of view, cause they are all about the same thing: light and environment, but say it in different ways so anyone can understand(ain't we a dang good comunity).
As was said, the best place to shoot is outside.
BTW both are great castles, but I think he felt insane about the legs(if he puts them back in the olace, they will still be too loose.)
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